An asteroid which is believed to be as big as a mountain has cruised past Earth in a record breaking encounter on September one in the morning. The humongous asteroid named 3122 Florence which is about 2.7 miles wide, came very close to Earth, i.e., just 4.4 million miles away, which is estimated to be around 18 times the distance of the Earth from the moon.
Paul Chodas, the manager of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that they never witnessed such a giant asteroid coming so close to earth in their tracking history. He compared this event to be happening once in every 40 years. Chodas informed that there are only ten such big sized asteroids moving around the Earth’s Space. Astronomers were aware that Florence would come close to Earth, but through the mapping of its orbit, they were sure that the asteroid would not hit our planet and also there is no threat to Earth from Florence for the next few centuries.In 1981, astronomer Schelte “Bobby” Bus discovered Florence at Australia’s Siding Spring Observatory. The massive space rock revolves around
In 1981, astronomer Schelte “Bobby” Bus discovered Florence at Australia’s Siding Spring Observatory. The massive space rock revolves around the sun completely in every 2.35 years on its elliptical path and sometimes gets too close to our stars. Florence is considered to be a very fast spinner as it completes one rotation in a mere 2.4 hours.
According to Chodas, the faster the asteroid spins, the more it flies away as its equator becomes bulkier. But that is not the case in Florence. The scientists have not been able to get a satisfactory result about the shape and size of the asteroid and also they have no idea whether it has the moon or not. All the values are only estimations. But this time as Florence came very close to earth (eight times nearer to earth since its discovery), scientists were able to get a better look and observation about the planet.
For this, they used powerful technologies like NASA’s Goldstone Solar System Radar in California and the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Apart from astronomers, general people can see the asteroid through a backyard telescope for next few days.